Never underestimate how important thank you notes are to the impression you make on the company in your job interview process. But the most critical factor of all is speed. For that reason, every thank you note should be a thank you email...sent within 24 hours of your interview.

Why? Because hiring decisions can be made quickly, and you don't want to miss your chance to influence it. It's that simple.

I continue to be surprised by how many job seekers skip this step entirely. But believe me, hiring managers notice if you don't send one. Not sending a thank you email makes you look like you don't care about getting that job.
There is NEVER a good reason not to send one. It doesn’t matter if you knocked it out of the park and they told you the job is yours already. (It’s never a done deal until the written offer is signed, sealed and delivered.) It doesn’t matter if it was only a phone interview. (Every interview matters.)

It's not just a manners thing...although they count for a lot. In a contest between two equally qualified people, the one with the nice manners seems like a much more pleasant person to work with for the next few years.

Thank you emails serve several purposes besides politeness:

(1) They get your name in front of the hiring manager one more time.

(2) They demonstrate your communication skills.

(3) They are one more chance to sell yourself as the best person for the job.

(4) They show your ability to take in information (the interview) and provide feedback or new ideas about whatever problem or issue the company faces (why they need you). For example: “I thought about your concerns about how to handle xyz delivery issues, when I was a product manager at ABC corporation, we used………"

In many cases, the thank you email is the tipping point:
One hiring manager called me a few days after a phone interview with one of my candidates. The manager felt that the candidate was qualified but was reluctant to say that he wanted to move the candidate forward. Then he asked if the candidate had talked with me after the interview and did the candidate ask for the hiring manager’s email address. Yes, I had talked with the candidate and no - she had not asked for the email address. That answer was the kiss of death for that candidate. That simple piece of information was the tipping point for him.

That particular job was in sales and marketing. Those managers often feel that if you don’t use all the tools to persuade them in your job search, you won’t use all of the tools you need to be successful in their position. If you’re in sales or marketing, not sending a thank you email gives them an excuse not to hire you.

In other jobs, the thank you note is a tipping point for other reasons. But it still can be the only thing separating you and another candidate in this competitive market. So use everything you can to influence them to hire you.

Write a good thank you note, and send it by email within 24 hours of your interview.

Author's Bio: 

Peggy McKee offers job search advice, tips, tools, and training for that are guaranteed to work fast at her website

Find out more about what to say in your thank you email from the sample note in this blog post: